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Ophrys incantata

O. incantata was first described from the Adriatic coast of Dalmatia (Croatia) by Devillers and Devillers-Terschuren in 2004 and is a member of the O. exaltata group of Ophrys. It's name literally means
enchanted .

This species is thought to be endemic to Croatia, although similar plants are found on the opposite side of the Adriatic (Gargano peninsula, Italy) which have yet to be formally identified. At present however it is only known with certainty to have a limited distribution along the Dalmatian coast and hinterland, where it can sometimes occur in large populations. It is the first of the Croatian Spider orchids to flower, coming into bloom in March at the same time as O. liburnica, at least two weeks before the Istrian based O. tommasinii. As has already been mentioned, although local, it is not an uncommon species, being found in short grassland, garigue and abandoned terraces on most suitable calcareous to neutral substrates, particularly those with a moisture retentive character.

Separating the two early flowering Dalmatian species is difficult and not made any easier by the natural variation inherent in both. There are however three easily detectable, though admittedly unreliable characteristics that will sometimes differentiate them. The first is the relative size of the basal swellings where O. liburnica usually exhibits significant enlargements relative to O. incantata which normally has little more than minor or often imperceptible enlargements. Secondly the marginal hair in O. incantata is lighter in shade and more attenuated at the distal end. The broad yellow marginal banding seems more usual and more prominent in O. incanata. Both species share similar habitat preferences although O. liburnica will rarely stray into neutral soils, being a strict calciphyte.